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From Alternate History Worlds
|Republic of Oceania
Oceania is a Unionist republic encompassing the islands of Australia, New Guinea and a number of small Pacific islands. The territory of Oceania was originally settled by the British in the late 1700s and then used as a penal colony; like other parts of the Empire, however, it developed rapidly and established local governance, achieving dominion status (along with New Zealand) in 1928.
The dominion quickly experienced an upsurge in Unionist beliefs. This was further bolstered by the arrival of Unionist activist Margaret Churchill from Britain, and the Oceanian participation in the anti-Unionist interventions in Southeast Asia further served to raise dissatisfaction. As Unionist activities intensified, a Unionist party, the APWO, formed to contest the 1949 elections. It achieved a sweeping victory, with 60% of the votes, and soon proclaimed the Republic of Oceania, abolishing the monarchy and eventually proclaiming Oceania as a Unionist republic.
One of the most controversial moves of the APWO government was the expansion of the Oceanian Antarctic colony. Staking a major claim to Antarctica in 1949, which was accepted by the great powers, the Unionist government eventually established a number of prison camps on the icy continent, exiling reactionaries to these camps. The conditions of these penal camps (and indeed, their existence) were unknown until 1965.
Initial anti-Unionist attempts to rise against the government were unsuccessful, as these guerillas were isolated and crushed. However, tensions between the 'hardliner' sections of the ruling party, headed by incumbent John Dunham, and the 'moderates', led by Julia Smith-Goldstein, led to a popular coup in 1958 toppling Dunham's government. However, most of the officers supported Dunham and the hardliners reestablished themselves in Western Australia, taking Perth and plunging the country into a bloody civil war lasting from 1958 until the armistice of 1962 that resulted in Western Australia achieving de facto independence under Dunham's rule. During the civil war, New Zealand also separated from Oceania; the region had the lowest support of Unionism in the period between 1949-1958 and easily wrested control of the islands of New Zealand from Dunham's faction.